By Adam Clay

Nursing home board member Rick Clement (at right, standing) addresses questions at Wednesday’s Special Commission meeting.

It came as a surprise to many, including the Horton City Commission, when the board for Horton’s Mission Village Living Center submitted a notice that they would be closing the doors of the nursing home on June 8 due to financial crisis.

The city has taken action, exploring avenues of reprieve and hosting, on Wednesday evening, a Special Meeting of the City Commission at the Blue Building to hear questions and comments from community members and to discuss moving forward with potential solutions.

Nursing home board member Rick Clement addressed several questions, and said that the board had no plans to close as recently as February, but that things had changed. The manor is currently around $130,000 in debt to vendors, and have an $80,000 lump sum payment for missed bed taxes, fees and interest due in June of next year. Clement said that much of the problem with the nursing home’s finances come from the fact that no new residents have been referred to the facility in quite some time.

City Attorney Kevin Hill answered a question on ownership, saying that the city owns the real estate of the nursing home, while the operations are managed by Northeast Kansas Health and Wellness. Hill stated that the city has no real control over operations of the nursing home in the current system.

After an Executive Session, Commissioner Kenn Krug made a motion to proceed with negotiations with NEK Health and Wellness to take ownership of daily operations. The motion was seconded and carried with a vote. Mayor Bryan Stirton reminded those present that this is just the first step, and that details will come as the process becomes clearer. He also said that the city plans to meet with Reinvent Horton and HIDC to discuss funding, and told the community to “keep your wallets handy” as more help will be needed along the way.

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